Everything about Dutch start-up IRL Connect revolves around one question: Where are you? It’s a location based social network that is expected to go into private beta in June. Co-founder and CEO Frank Schuil mailed me today that IRL got seed funding from IntoBeta and private investment company Van de Wijgerd. Both companies took a share in IRL and will advice Schuil and his team on how to develop the service. Schuil: “The investment of IntoBeta BV and Van de Wijgerd BV enables us to move forward. Both parties have extended experience and know what it takes to build a solid web application and raise venture capital. This means a short and long term advantage.”
Joost van de Wijgerd about the investment in IRL: “I’m convinced that Location Based Social Networking, Social Network Aggregation and developments such as OpenSocial are the big thing for 2008 and 2009. IRLConnect combines these items in a slick visual app with a cool interaction model.”
The ambitions of IRL sound good: by connecting MySpace, Facebook and other social networks with Google Maps, IRL wants to make your friends from social networks visible on a map. So IRL Connect makes a link between your online and off line life. I do think that they may better hurry, since similar initiatives are popping up. For example, Yahoo is developing FireEagle. A service that is also all about letting know where you are. It’s the new hype, obviously, and I hope for IRL Connect that they find a way to stand out from the crowd.